Sir David Hare will return to the National Theatre with the latest addition to a wave of plays about the Labour Party.
The playwright’s, I’m Not Running, is the story of an MP rising to the top after 20 years, and his relationship with a friend who has deliberately steered clear of party politics.
It comes 25 years after Sir David’s play, An Absence Of War, portrayed Neil Kinnock’s leadership.
Labour of Love, James Graham’s new play about Labour’s ideological divisions, has just opened in the West End.
Other plays have examined the 1981 Labour split which led to the birth of the SDP and Graham’s This House, which portrayed the dying days of James Callaghan’s late-70s administration.
Rufus Norris, the NT director, said I’m Not Running would not portray Jeremy Corbyn directly.
Norris said: “It has a contemporary setting but you won’t recognize any specific characters. It is fictionalized.”
“We’ve had discussions around the casting to make sure we’re steering way from that (direct representation).
“Augmented Reality” Glasses
The National Theatre also unveiled a new “augmented reality” system that promises to transform the experience for hearing-impaired theatre-goers.
By wearing Smart Capture glasses, audience members can read subtitles scrolling in front of their eyes whilst still focusing on the performers.
The Epson Moverio glasses being trialled at the NT, will replace captioned performances requiring large screens at the side of the stage, translating a play to script.
The glasses could also be used to display animated sequences, creating immersive experiences for all theatregoers.
An invited audience tested the glasses whilst Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams performed a scene from the acclaimed NT play, Mosquitoes.
Curious Incident To Tour Schools
The National Theatre is to stage its award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in schools across Britain to counter “short-sighted” government cuts to arts education.
Rufus Norris, the NT director, said the adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel would be performed in secondary schools, targeting areas of the country which have a low engagement with theatre.
Norris said he had been “shouting” at politicians in a bid to get them to recognize the value of the performing arts.
Norris said: “A big threat to art in this country is the relentless and incredibly short-sighted sidelining of arts in education.”
“There is a growing mountain of evidence proving the benefit of the arts for young people as well as well-documented economic benefit to the country from our creative industries. It is very, very frustrating to witness this slide.”
The idea for taking The Curious Incident to schools came following the accident in 2013 when the production at London’s Apollo Theatre was interrupted by the ceiling collapsing. A “decor-free” production was staged for audiences instead.
Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident playwright who is a former teacher, said: “I have seen firsthand how inspiring drama is to young people in schools. We can’t afford to lose the arts from our education system. I am delighted that our play will play its part in introducing young people to the theatre.”
The Name’s Mendes… Sam Mendes
The NT also announced the directorial return of Sam Mendes. The James Bond director will helm a trilogy of plays about the Lehman Brothers, charting the family’s 19th-century arrival in New York to the spectacular collapse of the investment bank in 2008.
This post first appeared on iNews on October 3, 2017 and has been reposted with permission.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.